Meet Steven Johnson

Meet Steven Johnson
1. Why are you running for election/re-election? I have been encouraged to run for reelection by my peers, parents, and teachers of the District. I have invested three years learning how the district runs and becoming familiar with the different schools, board policy and protocols, and the challenges education faces in the current environment. As a parent in the district, I would like to retain my seat on the Board to utilize this acquired knowledge to continue to support the Districts efforts of advancing academics in Francis Howell.

2. Why do you think you should be on FHSD’s Board of Education? As a current Board member, I have spent the last three years learning how the District works and becoming familiar with staff and administration. I have invested the time to complete the Missouri School Board training and am a Master Certified Board member, the first in Francis Howell School Board history. I have fully participated on the Academic Strategic Planning Committee, Finance and the Human Resources Planning Committees. I have attended all but one School Board meeting during my tenure on the Board. I have been told that I make a difference and want to continue to do so.

3. What do you hope to do for the district, if elected? I hope to continue to support Administration in the quest for academic excellence for ALL Francis Howell students. It is also important to complete all ongoing construction projects, further define facilities needs, but also operate the District with good conservative values by being fiscally responsible.

4. What types of things do you think the Board should be focusing on right now? The focus of the Board should be to support the 5 year Strategic Plan developed by Administration and approved by the Board this year. This plan will ready the District for 21st century education and help prepare patrons, staff, and students for the coming Common Core standards that take effect in 2014.

5. What has the school board been focusing on this year? The Board has worked with Administration to develop the 5 year Strategic Plan, finalize construction projects (FHH, Castlio, Daniel Boone, and FHN), approve a budget for the operation of the District and update or establish policies that reflect current laws or norms that affect District operation.

6. What do you like most about our district? I like the fact that each school has a culture and the community takes pride and ownership by getting involved in each school community. On a macro level, I like the fact that the District has made financial investments in staff and technology to insure that students are given the opportunity for a high quality education, but also provide opportunities for many extra curricular activities.

7. Why has the district been focusing a lot on bullying? Is that seen often throughout the schools? What are ways you would like to help fix that problem? The District has always had an anti bullying policy and that has been reflected in the code of conduct for students as a level 2 or 3 offence depending on severity. The Missouri Sate Legislature passed a bill requiring all school districts to have an anti-bullying policy. Francis Howell updated our policy and cyber bullying has been added in the recently updated version of the COC. All the Board can do is establish policy and set the tone that bullying is not accepted. Peer pressure is much more effective than anything the Board can do. Students can have a much greater impact on bullying. When they see it occur they can let the bully know that it is not acceptable and report the offender to administration.

8. How has technology changed throughout the schools? How will that impact students’ learning? What are your thoughts on the district using more technology – and social media – in classes? Technology has become pervasive in our society, especially as it relates to students. The District has acquired I-Pads for a targeted audience of students at this time; all teachers have new laptop computers and internet accessibility is being expanded across the District. Use of social media is being written in the revised curriculums so that we can better prepare students for jobs in the 21st century. However, with this access becomes responsibility and the District has put filters in place to prevent access to inappropriate websites.

9. How did the $4 million get overlooked last year when a lot of teachers were laid off? What is the school using the money for now? The budget is a financial plan that the Board approves for operation of the school District. It is based on what revenue is anticipated from local taxes, the State of Missouri, and the federal government. The revenues actually came in higher than projected AND revenues were conserved through under-spending across the District. The $4 million, which represents less that 5% of the budget, went back into the District balances and is being used for salary increases for teacher and staff in 2012-13 school year.

10. How long has the district been working on the School Messenger? Why did the district decide to do that? School Messenger has been a defined need of the District for several years, however the cost was prohibitive. As cost came down, the IT department was able to cost justify this system by eliminating the expense of a survey tool the District had been using. This made the purchase cost neutral to the District and provides more timely communication to families and staff of school closing or emergencies that occur.

11. What are your three main priorities if you are elected to the board of education? (1) Insuring that the academic gains achieved over the past several years continue and that we provide a 21st century education to ALL students (2) Insure that the District has adequate funding to provide this education and continue to attract high quality teachers and staff and, (3) Finish all ongoing construction projects and insure that remaining bond monies are used for high priority projects throughout the District.